Hundreds see off young victim
A final ride on one of his "man toys", a last glimpse of his family home and a lap around the rugby field marked the final farewell for Bunnythorpe man Shane Foster.
Shane William Foster, 28, was killed when he was hit by a car while walking on Rangitikei Line, State Highway 3, between Newbury Line and Hansens Line, about 5.55am on August 1.
His family still don't know why he was on the road that day, but suspect he might have been trying to hitch a ride to his truck, or to work, having been drinking.
His funeral, at Crossroads Church in Palmerston North on Saturday, attracted a crowd of about 800 people.
Foster's casket was brought to the church on the back of his beloved green Hilux ute, one of his many "man toys", and adorned with the skull and horns of a stag, in a nod to his love of hunting.
At his funeral, people lined up to share their memories of the prolific hunter and fisherman, with the booming voice and passion for four-wheel-driving, diving, and rugby.
He was described in a reading by celebrant Llew King as a "free spirited" young man who spoke his mind and had no fear.
"He was the life of the party, confident, people friendly, the kind of guy who was good to know."
His parents, Dave and Donna Foster, read letters to their son.
"They say I have a big heart, but mate, yours was even bigger," Dave Foster said.
"Mate, we know that you've got our backs, but it's not going to be the same."
His mum Donna Foster addressed her letter to "Shaney babes".
"Even when I was cranky with you, you would say ‘shush, please', how could I ever be mad with you after that?" she said, before signing off the letter as "big mumma".
Foster's friends remembered the confident ladies' man, and jack-of-all-trades.
"Everything he tried, he mastered, especially when it came to the outdoors," one friend said.
"What a ladies' man he was, and the ladies absolutely loved him. I've never worked out how that big gorilla showed us the way with the ladies every time," another said.
When the service finished, Foster's casket was carried by his friends, stopping briefly in the foyer as a haka was performed, then placed on the deck of a Hiab truck.
But Foster's farewell wasn't finished just yet. Escorted by a fleet of vehicles from his workplace, Electrix, Foster was driven to the Bunnythorpe rugby grounds, for a last lap around the field he had once played on, past his parents' home, and on to the Bunnythorpe cemetery.
A lone piper played as he was lowered into the earth, in recognition of his Scottish ancestry.